But organizers urge headsets be left at home: Your race experience will be greatly enhanced by having complete use of all of your senses.
I was aware that most sanctioned road races banned headphone use by runners in order to comply with the rules of USA Track and Field (USATF). I was unaware that last month, USATF lifted the ban, clearing the way for Grandma's and other races to decide on their own whether to allow headphones.
I love my iPod. Use it all the time on training. I like that the option is now up to the race organizer to allow or not. If a race would allow, I probably would wear headphones. If they didn't, it wouldn't bother me. Honestly, I've always liked the occasional back-and-forth that can occur with fellow runners during a race but its is nice to have a 'power song' come on and help get you through a killer hill or something.
And of note, with the Nike Plus iPod comb, I can actually set my distance (such as a 5K) and program it not play any music but give me distance splits only. That way, I'm technically deaf and can still be audibly aware of my surroundings.
Of course, I'd never wear during a tri as you would lose too much time in transition...not to mention making the bike leg ultra-dangerous. Believe it or not, I did see people using mp3 players during bike legs at several triathlons last season. Flabbergasted.
What do you think? Should headphones be allowed during road races? Why or why not?